If you’ve ever dreaded getting your picture taken because you don’t love your smile, you’re not alone.
A lot of people feel self-conscious about their teeth because they’re crooked, crowded, too far apart—you get the idea. Poor teeth positioning makes a lot of adults uncomfortable with their grins.
In some cases, the teeth themselves aren’t the only problem, either. A lot of adults have a misaligned bite, too. The top and bottom teeth are supposed to align almost perfectly, but that perfection is pretty uncommon. For example, a lot of people deal with an underbite—when the bottom teeth extend past or even overlap the top teeth.
Thankfully, it’s possible to fix an underbite. And if you have an underbite that you’d like to correct, you’re probably considering your options. Home teeth aligners have become a fairly popular treatment method in the last few years. But can home teeth aligners fix your underbite? In this guide, that’s the question we’re here to answer.
How Does At-Home Treatment Work?
At-home treatment (called teledentistry in the industry) sounds complicated. But overall, it’s a very simple process. Frankly, the hardest part is picking which company you’re going to use!
In general, the success of your home aligner treatment hinges on your wearing each aligner as prescribed—that’s how the magic happens! Look at it this way: if you get braces, your orthodontist attaches brackets and wires to your teeth to pull them into new positions. Periodically, the orthodontist tightens the wires to shift the teeth even further. Over time, your teeth shift into their perfect positions, and you get the braces removed.
Home teeth aligners work in much the same way, but they trade the semi-permanent brackets and wires for clear, removable plastic. Each aligner is uniquely crafted to pull your teeth towards their new positions. But with home aligners, you don’t have to visit the orthodontist every time you need an adjustment to have your wires tightened. Instead, you’ll simply move on to the next aligner in your treatment. The next aligner is “tighter,” moving your teeth a little bit further. Step by step, you achieve the smile of your dreams.
Can Home Aligners Correct My Underbite?
Whether or not home teeth aligners will correct your underbite ultimately depends on the root cause of your condition. There are two common causes of underbite: the teeth themselves are misaligned, or in more severe cases, the lower jaw bone doesn’t line up exactly.
Of the two, an underbite caused by a misaligned jaw is tougher to correct. Whether the jaw bone itself is the wrong size or wrongly positioned, the bones of your mouth don’t move easily. Shifting them requires a significant amount of force. It is possible to correct those issues, but you’ll have to bring out the proverbial “big guns” to treat them. Elastics, appliances, attachments, and (in the worst-case scenario) surgery are the typical methods to treat underbites caused by the bone structure.
Thankfully, though, most people’s underbites are caused by poorly-aligned teeth. And that issue is easy to fix with braces and clear aligners. Over the last few years, home teeth aligners have become a pretty popular alternative to big names like Invisalign. And it’s no surprise why: home aligners are incredibly convenient, and they’re a lot cheaper than other options.
Home aligners aren’t all-powerful, though. Since an orthodontist doesn’t oversee your treatment, your aligners have to be straightforward. There are no opportunities to add on the elastics or attachments that you’d need to shift your jaw. Home aligners will only shift your teeth.
How Can I Be Sure I’ll Get The Results I Want?
Prior to beginning treatment with an at-home aligner company, you’ll need to purchase an impression kit to create 3D molds of your teeth. The company you choose will analyze those molds to determine if you’re a good candidate for treatment. If you aren’t, they will refund the cost of your impression kit.
A word of caution, though: at-home aligner companies determine your candidacy based on the positions of your teeth, not your jaw. If they believe they can correct your teeth, they’ll give you the go-ahead. But some bite issues are the result of a misaligned jaw. In these cases, home teeth aligners may not be able to sufficiently resolve
The most fool-proof method is to consult with your dentist. As your primary care provider, your dentist will chat with you about the severity of your underbite, whether you should treat it, and if so, the best methods for doing so. Some home aligner companies require you to get a “clean bill of health” from your dentist prior to treatment anyway, so it’s a step worth taking.
Which Companies Should I Choose From?
Home-based clear aligner products work a lot like Invisalign, but they cut out the overhead costs of an orthodontist’s office by shipping the aligners directly to you. By wearing each aligner for the prescribed amount of time, you’ll be able to shift your teeth into new positions so they’ll align correctly.
We’ve researched every home teeth straightening service on the market and consolidated the most important information in our review of the top 4 services. But for now, here’s a quick overview of our top three recommendations:
byte | $1,895
Our #1 pick for at-home treatment is Byte, and there’s a lot we love about them. But when it all comes down to it, you should pick Byte if you’re in a hurry to achieve the smile of your dreams. Typically, they’re twice as fast as their top competitors. That’s thanks to their HyperByte system, a proprietary device that Byte includes in every treatment bundle at no extra cost. As a Byte patient, you’ll use your HyperByte for 5-10 minutes per day. Using gentle, rapid vibrations, the HyperByte system helps to shift your teeth faster than aligners alone.
On average, patients can expect to wear their aligners for 3 months. However, that assumes you wear your aligners for the prescribed time and use the HyperByte regularly.
As an added plus, Byte offers two treatment methods: Byte All-Day aligners and Byte At-Night. In principle, they’re the same treatment. But with All-Day aligners, you’ll wear your aligners for 22+ hours daily. Byte At-Night cuts that wear schedule down to 10 hours daily—mostly while you sleep. Since you wear your aligners less often with Byte At-Night, your treatment will last about 6 months instead.
Since there are two treatment methods, Byte charges two different price points: Byte All-Day aligners cost $1,895; At-Night runs you $2,295. Why the extra cost? Byte At-Night uses premium aligners that stand up to nighttime grinding. They’re a little more expensive to produce.
All told, Byte is a good company all-around. The biggest drawback is that they can’t treat tough cases, but that’s true for all home aligners. And if you’re looking to save the most cash, AlignerCo is a more affordable option (see below).
Candid | $2,400
One of the biggest concerns people have with at-home aligners is simple: home aligners don’t offer you much in the way of orthodontist oversight. Sure, an orthodontist may design your treatment plan, but in most cases, you’re on your own after that. That’s not true with Candid, though. Candid offers a unique program called Remote Monitoring. As a patient, you’ll get a regular notification from your orthodontist to have a virtual check-up. Using your smartphone and a special imaging device, you’ll show your orthodontist how your treatment is going.
If your orthodontist decides your treatment is going well, you may be able to move on to your next aligner sooner than expected. In general, your Candid treatment will last 6 months or a bit faster.
Another plus of Candid: it’s possible to skip the impression kit process by visiting a Candid Studio. Instead of making molds of your teeth at home, a professional at a Candid Studio will take scans of your teeth for you.
On the whole, there aren’t any real drawbacks to Candid. That said, the cost is a fair bit higher than most at-home aligner companies: $2,400. We think it’s a fair trade-off, though. The extra expense gets you their Remote Monitoring program, which includes orthodontist oversight. To us, it’s worth the cost.
AlignerCo | $1,145
Byte and Candid are both fantastic options, but your wallet might disagree. $2,000 or more is cheaper than braces and Invisalign, but it’s still a significant investment. And if you’re like a lot of busy adults, your budget is pretty tight. You might not have that kind of cash. If so, AlignerCo is a good solution. They pride themselves on being the most affordable home aligner company on the market. Their price point proves it, too: $1,145.
With AlignerCo, there aren’t a ton of extras like free whitening. They try to keep your treatment kit as affordable as possible. That said, they don’t cut corners; you still get all the aligners you need as well as a free set of post-treatment retainers.
While AlignerCo gets the job done effectively, there are two key drawbacks. First, AlignerCo uses a mixed team of orthodontists and dentists to create their treatment plans. So there’s no guarantee that an orthodontist will design your treatment specifically. Dentists have some training in shifting teeth, but it’s not to the same level as an orthodontist.
Last but not least, AlignerCo’s treatment is a touch slower than average. Most people will need to wear their aligners for 6 to 11 months. That’s a pretty wide range, and competitors like Byte are considerably faster.
Which Service Should I Choose?
All of the at-home options we’ve listed in this guide are good choices, but you can only pick one, right? Ultimately, you’ll have to pick the method that’s right for your smile. But if you want our recommendation, our favorites are Byte and Candid. We love them for different reasons, though.
Byte is an excellent option all-around. Their customer service is great, and their treatment time is crazy fast thanks to their HyperByte vibration technology. And even though they’re not the cheapest option available, we do think they make up for it by including the HyperByte device in the cost of the aligner kit.
Candid is a bit different. Their speed is average, but their selling point is their Remote Monitoring program. It strikes a nice balance between the convenience of at-home treatment and the orthodontist oversight you’d get with an in-office treatment method.
Ultimately, it’s up to you what you choose to do about your underbite. Braces aren’t right for everyone, and neither are home teeth aligners. Hopefully, though, this guide has helped you think through your options.
Thankfully, you have the luxury of time to decide if you want to fix your bite issues and how you want to do it. If you do, we wish you the best of luck as you pursue your new smile!